After you become calloused to the culture, the next step is that you start compromising your own standards. While you once held to a certain desired level of holiness, you have now met somewhere in the middle between God’s standards and the standards of the culture. This compromise is anything less than God’s ideal.
The prophet Jeremiah told his culture that the people were in trouble because they were no longer ashamed when they sinned. He even states that the people around him had forgotten how to blush (Jer. 6:15). His culture was so immersed in sinful practices, that they no longer felt a bit of shame for acting contrary to their spiritual heritage. These were the people of God, and they had begun to engage in things that should have been anything but characteristic of God’s family.
When I was in college, the guys in my dorm had this discussion all the time. Since most of those guys were trying to live for Christ, nobody was doing any of the commonly accepted “worse” sins. We were just flirting with respectable sins. Those sins that church people really don’t think are bad. Crude joking, coveting, lying, and other sins started to creep into behaviors but since they weren’t the really bad stuff, some of the guys never saw a need to change.
In one of our conversations, I remember that we were challenging each other on different issues. Some of these guys were getting ready to go help out at a church youth group and I asked the question, “Will you tell those youth tonight at church that it is acceptable to live the way you are living?” The silence in the room revealed how we all felt. Nobody wanted to transgress against Christ, but we became aware of our tendencies to compromise on the shady areas.
Concerning worldliness, I still want to be uncomfortable with the things that make Jesus uncomfortable. I don’t want to lose my ability to blush. I want to know that questionable things still show up on my radar, and I have enough unction to confront those gray areas. If friendship with this world means hostility towards God (James 4:4), then I want to make sure I don’t compromise in my personal holiness or integrity.
Without a doubt, compromise comes in the form of our sin and our approval of other’s sins. Christians don’t openly condone sin, but when we make light of sinful actions in our world, we are not only accepting its reality but we are celebrating its presence. Paul blasted those who not only sinned, but those who gave approval to sinners (Rom. 1:32). In a compromised state, Christians enjoy the entertainment provided by transgression. If I enjoy a media piece that mocks biblical teaching, my morals have been compromised. If I find humor in the things that Christ died for, I am in a dangerous spot.